Maggie Dalena

Digital Identities

Maggie Dalena

Professor Cynthia Estremera

English 001

October 3, 2012

Digital Identities

Since the Internet has been invented and introduced to the public for commercial use, people have used it in a variety of different ways. In the documentary “Digital Nation”, viewers saw the addictions as well as the virtual lives lead by some of the Internet’s and technology’s users. When the documentary focused on World of Warcraft users, the film highlighted the relationships that were built through this game. It was even shown to be common for couples to meet, fall in love and then even get married due to the interactions and relationships built through this game. One gamer, Tamara Langman, spoke about her relationship with her husband saying, “I’m always going to consider my first date the time when he broke into a castle to come meet me”1, referencing the game. When I first heard this statement I thought it was ludicrous and that these gamers were not only playing in a fantasy but living in a fantasy as well. But upon second thought, maybe this is not actually a fantasy they are living in and that there is no difference between their digital identity and real identity, rather it is just an extension of their true persona. Although some may say that technology and the Internet allows its users to form a new and improved digital identity, I believe it is still possible for individuals to maintain his or her true persona virtually.

My own Facebook profile largely reflects and compliments my true personality. Although my life does not revolve around updating my Facebook, like the World of Warcraft gamers, it still provides a somewhat accurate presentation of myself. My friends and family would describe me as introverted. I am shy around people I don’t know, usually not very outgoing, and overall a private person. These qualities translate to my Facebook profile. My profile has some of the strongest privacy settings available. Although most people protect their profile, I think it still speaks to how I am not an open person in real life, as well as digitally.

Another similarity between my true persona and how I conduct myself on Facebook is that I never like sending friend requests to people and I think that is because I am shy in general. Although some people believe that a barrier such as computer screen allows people to be less inhibited, I do not feel this effect on myself.  

In my life I have close relationships with people, and on my Facebook page it is evident who is important to me. You can see my friends in my profile pictures, or on posts on my wall. Another relationship I see between my own personality and my profile is that my relationships consist of very close friends, and you can see them all over my profile. Especially because I do not like to take pictures, if I ever do post a photo or album on Facebook it is because I have a meaningful memory I want to share and usually it involves my best friends.

The Internet is very versatile and that is why some people might view it as a threat. It has the power to be very detrimental but also provides the opportunity to contribute something meaningful towards someone’s life. In the case of Internet addicts shown in “Digital Nation” it is detrimental. While on the other hand, the World of Warcraft gamers were able to express themselves, find people with similar interests, make life long friends and even life partners. The positive correlation between my true persona and my Facebook persona proves that people can maintain their identity online. As well as the World of Warcraft gamers who argue that when they play they are socializing and are able to make some of their best friends.

[1] Digital_Nation Life on the Virtual Frontier. Dir. Rachel Dretzin. By Douglas Rushkoff. PBS Frontline. Frontline, 2 Feb. 2010. Web. 2 Oct. 2012.